Spartanburg, the largest city in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, gets its name from the Spartan militia that defended the city during the Revolutionary War. The city is covers approximately 20 square miles and has a population of over 39,000. Thanks to their city's close proximity to Charlotte, North Carolina, Spartanburg residents enjoy easy access to big-city amenities.
- Sparta Area Regional Transit provides bus service throughout the city.
- Downtown Memorial Airport has over 100 local aircraft and corporate jets.
- Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport serves 15 commercial airlines with nonstop flights to 17 major cities across the country.
- Spartanburg is trying to protect the environment by encouraging bicycle travel. In 2005 the League of American Bicyclists named Spartanburg a "Bicycle Friendly Community."
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Aviation accounts a large slice of Spartanburg's economy and labor market. Two of the biggest employers in this sector are:
- Downtown Memorial Airport, which provides hundreds of jobs and runs a multimillion dollar payroll. The airport also pumps millions each year into the local economy.
- Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, which employs several thousand local workers.
Other major employers located in Spartanburg include:
- BMW, whose only North American auto plant is located in Spartanburg
- Denny's Corporation, which owns, operates, and franchises breakfast restaurants
- Extended Stay America, a hotel chain
- Milliken and Company, a textile and chemicals manufacturer
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city accommodates more than 17,000 houses with occupied houses accounting to about 16,000. Out of these occupied houses, about half are occupied by the owners. With a total area of about 19.2 square mile, Spartanburg is a fairly walkable city.
Some of Spartanburg's notable neighborhoods include:
- Hampton Heights: With homes dating back to the late 1800s, this neighborhood borders Spartanburg's downtown business district. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic places and homeowners must request permission from the city before altering their homes.
- Beaumont Mills is another historic neighborhood, featuring homes built as far back as 1907. The neighborhood is an "intact" mill village that includes 14 different architectural styles, including Saddlebag, Pyramidal Cottage, American Four-Square, and Cross-Gabled Cottage.
- Converse Heights: Named for its close proximity to Converse College, this neighborhood was one of the first streetcar suburbs of Spartanburg. This neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with more than 400 buildings built from the 1900s through the 1940s. Converse Heights features a wide range of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, American Foursquare, Craftsman, Spanish Mission, Tudor, Colonial Revival, Neo-Classical and Minimal Traditional structures.
Spartanburg has the highest per capita college student population of any major city in South Carolina. Local colleges and universities include:
- Converse College: This women's college offers degrees in 44 undergraduate majors and 21 minors. The schools of arts and sciences, education, and graduate studies, and the Petrie School of Music serve around 2,000 students.
- Wofford College: This liberal arts college enrolls 1,400 students.
- Spartanburg Methodist College: Associated with the United Methodist Church, Spartanburg Methodist College is the only two-year independent, regionally accredited residential college in South Carolina.
- Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic: Established 1973, the college's curriculum has a unique focus on the correction of vertebral subluxation.
- Spartanburg Community College: The public-two year college educates between 5,000 and 7,500 students each year and offers continuing education programs and noncredit courses.
- University of South Carolina-Upstate: The USCU campus is the academic base for 5,000 students per year. Developed into a four-year university in 1975, this school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
- Cowpens National Battlefield: Daniel Morgan and his army defeated the British army on this battlefield during the Revolutionary War. The site's visitor center features Revolutionary War artifacts, a reproduction of a three-pounder cannon, and interactive exhibits for children.
- Walnut Grove Plantation: This 19th-century home includes a blacksmith forge, a well house, a wheat house, a smokehouse, and a family graveyard. The plantation was built in 1765 by Charles Moore on land he received from King George II. The grounds also feature the Rocky Spring Academy, one of the first schools in the area, and the reconstructed office of Dr. Andrew Barry Moore, the country's first college-trained physician.
- BMW Zentrum: BMW's only museum in North America.
- Price House: The entrepreneur Thomas Price built this brick mansion in 1795. The estate sits on a 2,000-acre plantation and includes a kitchen building and a double-pen slave cabin that housed 28 slaves. Originally located in Newberry County, the house was reconstructed on the Spartanburg site in 2004. The Taste of Backcountry festival takes place here every year and features actors dressed in period clothing and food prepared over an open flame.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Chapman Cultural Center: This venue for performing and visual arts is located in downtown Spartanburg. The three-building campus houses museums, an art gallery, studio space, a dance center, and a science center.
- Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium: Since the 1950s, the "Showplace of the South" has presented the biggest names in politics, music, comedy, and theater to Spartanburg. President George W. Bush, Ray Charles, Jerry Seinfeld, and several Broadway stars have given speeches or performed here.
- Ballet Spartanburg: Each year 400 students take lessons at Ballet Spartanburg, which performs four programs each season and tours festivals throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Spartanburg Museum of Art: This museum's collection includes works of art and sculpture by regional, national, and international artists. Spartanburg Museum of Art strives to educate the public with an art school that offers instruction for all ages, an open art studio for intercity youth, and an annual art lecture series.
- Spartanburg Science Center: This museum features interactive exhibits on science subjects, such as plants and animals, regional studies, and the human body.
- Spartanburg International Festival: This annual event celebrates cultural diversity with food, music, dance, and visual art.
- Music on Main: This weekly concert series takes place when the workday ends in downtown Spartanburg. Attendees enjoy music, food, and drinks in a park setting.
- Spring Fling: The annual three-day street festival attracts 75,000 attendees. Activities include an art show, a food court, a professional bicycle race, and an antique car show.
- The Greek Festival: A street festival held each fall that celebrates the Greek community with food and cultural activities.
- Taste of the Backcountry: This annual festival offers cooking and crafts demonstrations, as well as antique appraisals and guided tours of Spartanburg's historic buildings.
- Jamboread Reading Festival: This is an annual reading festival, featuring readings and book signings from notable authors.
- The NFL's Carolina Panthers hold summer training camp at the Wofford College campus in Spartanburg.
- Converse College, Spartanburg Methodist College, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, and Wofford College provide the city with exciting athletic events in basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, baseball, and softball.